Interview With Jay Thomas from Bluejay

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What type of music does your band do?

Tallahassee has dubbed us soul pop. Sooouuuul pop, they added the soul part. It’s lovely for them to say. It’s a lot of everything. It’s been important to me that my songs can be sung aloud, and sung back to me. At this point, it’s been important to truly emote, and I think the soul comes from the emotion behind the songs, which I want people to remember. So, the pop comes from remembering the song, or the catchiness, and the soul comes from the performance.

 

Where is your band from?

We are originally from Miami but we work out of Tallahassee and I owe my music to Tallahassee. I will always represent Tallahassee.

 

What are 3 artists that you admire or aspire to be like? How is your music similar and different from those artists?

HR Giger. I love HR Giger. He is an artist of landscapes and I’m very into creating landscapes with music and sound. I would say that Ani Difranco’s urgency has inspired me to deliver my message potently. Im just trying not to say Tori Amos (chuckles). I got to say Tori Amos. The way she connects at the source and plays music from the source, is what I take from Tori Amos. It’s not staged. Tori Amos’s music live is not staged. It is purely there in that moment and I like that. I really aspire to that.

 

What is the best piece of advice you could give to aspiring artists?

I don’t feel qualified to give advice at this point. But I would say if I were to give advice I would say in creation make sure that it connects with something deep and real within you. If you want to write a song and sing it for years, make sure that it’s connecting with something that your life keeps experiencing. Not particularly one experience but something that you can always go to that song and feel it and it becomes a vehicle for something that you feel often or something that is deeply felt within you.

 

What do you think the best way to find venues are? What about recording studios?

Other bands. Other bands that sound like you. With recording studios, it’s good to work with someone you know. It’s good to know someone who’s going to commit to recording what you want to portray. If you meet someone who is the ink and you want to write something down, they will do it for you, and they will benefit and you will benefit.

 

What are ways you promote on and offline?

I tell this to bands that I know. When we came out with Goblins, the debut album from 2010, we posted posters all over our hometown, Tallahassee. Out of online, it’s putting posters everywhere, it’s pretty general. Online, I would say that I just try to deliver content. Content always. Not thoughts, not Demos, content. I like to finish something and then present it.

 

What makes music special to you?

Music is the most important thing in my life. What makes it special is that … oh, its almost impossible to say really. What makes it special to me is that it’s irreplaceable. I defend it. I defend it strongly. It’s the one thing that’s not a human that I defend like a family member and it can get me into debates.

 

What do you mean debates?

For example, my father is a Ron Stewart impersonator and often he suggests artificial ways of going about things. I asked him to play flute on Mercury, the new album, and he suggested the keyboard and I yelled at him. I’ve told him time and time again that I’m not going to use artificial things. If I use artificial things it better be artificially real like an electronic beat that cannot be done otherwise. I defend it. I defend music harshly. It’s special. I’m not into artificiality unless were going to go all the way with that. If we’re going to go all the way with that I’ll match it with lyrics. I’m not going to match my lyrics so far particularly with an artificial beat. It wasn’t created that way. I would like to create dance music in the future or something like that, but I’m not about to add an artificial beat to my live show.

 

Where do you get your inspirations for your songs?

Life, life, life. Ya know, life, that’s it. “Lucy”-Lucid dreams, “Tallahassee”- living in Tallahassee, “Boogeyman”-being cheated on, “Bruisey Brookie”-a theme song for my friend, “Fluorescent Green”- relying on a partner, “Black Cherry Blood”-not trusting that partner. Yeah, anything that pisses me off (chuckles) or makes me feel amazing. Tallahassee makes me feel amazing, it’s a beautiful place. My music would not exist without Tallahassee so I wrote Tallahassee song. When anything boils over it needs to be written down. And now I’m going into a state where I’m going to start writing about stuff that I’m not going to be able to tell people exactly what it’s about because I feel like I’ve been very explicit so far and stuff has happened recently that I think I’m going to choose to be a little poetic or a little grounded about it. What inspires me to write music is anything that I feel so harshly that I have to sing about it for years. Ya know, being cheated on at the same party that I was at will always make me want to sing the song “Boogeyman”. I was there. I was in a different room and that man was getting someone else’s number. I always want to sing that. That will be the song that represents that feeling. And I think even songs like “Bruisey Brookie” that are really specific about one person, Bruisey Brookie represents pop art, at its most specific it represents my friend Brooke, and at its most large it represents pop art.

 

You mentioned being more poetic and less literal. Are the subjects you choose difficult to talk about to the public?

I feel like, on Goblins, I’ve written about topics that are easier to talk about. It really takes an audience sometimes to be able to go into the deeper subjects and the songs on Goblins were written in real life. I was hanging out with my family the other day and I can play Tallahassee song in the middle of the night and it gets them going, I can play Bruisey Brookie and it gets them going, I can play Boogeyman and it gets them going. The songs on Mercury that are coming, I don’t play “Downloading You” all the time. I do play “Burnin’ Soul” a lot, that’s the song about my mother. And that’s definitely a hard subject I’m going to explore more or explain more. My mom died when I was 12 and it wasn’t just that. It was a pretty shite situation. So I’m sure I’ll be dealing with that in music a lot more. But music is a conversation. So, you don’t go to a party and go “my mom died”. So, now that they’ve been introduced to me, now that people have been listening to Goblins, I feel like I can tell them more. It’s a conversation.

 

It’s interesting you say it’s a conversation, how do you get feedback?

Fan feedback has only really started since Goblins and the live shows. I think feedback is something that multiple opinions come in and you just interpret them. Here’s a good one, my dad said for example, “Your catchiest song is about marijuana” (Scottish accent)(chuckles), with “Garden Girl” on Goblins, and it is one of only two songs with a repeating chorus on Goblins. So, I definitely thought I could repeat something if I really mean it. And the songs on Mercury, I mean what I’m saying and it’s important for people to hear it. So, I think the feedback from Mercury will be more politically exciting than Goblins. Goblins is more personally exciting but I’m starting to write about stuff that I think people will feel in their political/personal lives.

 

In your time as an artist, what is one thing that you’ve learned that could help other artists out there?

When I was learning poetry at FSU, they didn’t necessarily judge if a poem was good or bad. In order to be a poem, it had to be true. I would say if you take the time to write a song that is true it will always be true to you and others will understand that truth.

 

If there was one thing that you could tell your fans, what would it be?

Support my bloddy kickstarter when it comes out because I don’t want to play shite bars forever. Mercury. It drops this year 2012.

 

So you’re using kickstarter to fund the album?

I don’t know if were using Kickstarter yet, or another fund raising site. We’re doing something where we can raise some money and release it. We got the music done, but there’s always that last push. There’s a few out there, there’s Indiegogo, there’s Kickstarter, there’s other ones I’ve seen.

 

Tell us about your upcoming album, when is it coming out?

Ya know, when you’re indie, it never comes out (chuckles). Mercury will be out some time this year. We are dealing with mixing and videos. Stuff so that people can understand the statement I am trying to make. And I’m not just about releasing 10 songs that I’ve written. I’m about making a statement and creating an aesthetic that is gorgeous and beautiful. I love that so much in other artists that I aspire to create an aesthetic with Mercury. I think that I’ve created an aesthetic and a feel and I want to make sure that’s delivered correctly. And it’s coming out this year but it’s hard to determine the month because everyone’s got day jobs (chuckles).

 

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Love everyone that’s listening. I love all of you. Thanks for listening.

 

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